It’s been 10 years since pole dancing mutated into pole fitness, winning loyal fans as a fun workout that builds strength in the core and upper body. It’s proving so popular in Hong Kong that Pole Paradise Studio has now opened a studio in Sai Kung (it also has a branch in Sheung Wan). An it even offers lessons for children.
“Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it,” challenged founder and instructor Symone Dolai. So I did. Here’s what I found about Pole dancing in Sai Kung.
Pole fitness builds strength, flexibility and endurance through athletic moves such as climbs, spins and body inversions. It also requires the ability to walk in heels. It turns out, however, that only advanced pole practitioners keep their shoes on. As a beginner I went barefoot to avoid injury or discomfort. Under Dolai’s instructions, the pole was put to use immediately in warm-up exercises to flex the back, arms and legs.
First up, the “step and spin”. Dolai explains how to “feel your space” with the pole and demonstrated a one-armed swing that made my eyes pop. How on earth does she do that? The secret, she says, is in the momentum – step, lean out, swing, switch leg, stand up. It’s easier than it looks, thank goodness. Interestingly, Dolai says right-handed people often find the manoeuvre easier with their left hand (me included).
After mastering that, we try out the fireman spin: hop, hook on a leg and spin twice around the pole. Wheee! Then Dolai works my two moves up into a routine with a few body waves and feline steps just for fun. More cool-down exercises with the pole bring the lesson to an end. Next day, my forearm and chest muscles are a little sore, but it seems a small price to pay for being able to lay claim to my own pole routine.
Dolai says pole fitness is a fun activity for everyone, and to underline the point the Sai Kung studio is painted with a cheerful mural of a beach and palm tree. “Parents are more open-minded to children taking pole lessons. I once got three 16-year-olds coming into my class because their parents wanted them to build on core strength and muscles,” she says. “We will offer daytime lessons, after-school activities for children and teenagers and new equipment for complementary lessons.”
As well as pole fitness, the studio will offer aerial silk, hoop and other lessons on a private or group basis. Children’s classes include mini gymnastics sessions to build coordination.
“Children as young as two can start with our Tumbler classes, with more mat-based activities like jumping jacks and tuck-and-rolls.”
If my session is anything to go by, it should be fun.
Pole Paradise Studio, 2/F, 16 Yi Chun Street, Sai Kung, 2543 0198